Ex-Matildas boss Alen Stajcic has vowed to leave his controversial axing by the FFA in the past as he attempts to rebuild A-League strugglers Central Coast.
Stajcic was appointed on Tuesday as caretaker coach of the Mariners for the final six matches of the 2018-19 season, almost two months after he was sacked from his national team role.
The 45-year-old takes over from Mike Mulvey, who was axed after the 8-2 thrashing by Wellington on Saturday. That defeat leaves the Mariners eight points adrift in last on the A-League ladder.
Stajcic says taking over the position is about the challenge of setting a platform for the Mariners' future rather than proving anything to his former FFA bosses.
"For me to drag any of my past into this scenario would be wrong," Stajcic said. "There's a group and there's a club here that really needs to focus on what it needs to deliver moving forward. For the short-term there's a big challenge here to try and fix this club up."
He'll lead the team for the first time away to the Jets on Saturday.
A two-time W-League coach of the year winner during his time with Sydney FC before taking on the Matildas role, Stajcic said his lack of experience coaching senior men's football was irrelevant.
"As a player I've been involved in men's football my whole life ... for me it's not about coaching males or females or Mariners or boys or girls, it's about coaching footballers," he said.
With no hint of irony given his dismissal from the Matildas was based largely on a claimed poor team culture, Stajcic said "stability and harmony" were the aspects he hoped to develop during his stint.
"We've all been through a fair bit recently. Myself on an individual level and them, so I can really relate to where they are mentally and it's not easy," he said.
"When you're knocked down on the floor, you've only got two choices - stay on the floor and give up or get up and fight."
Stajcic refused to speculate on whether he'd be interested on the role permanently, insisting his focus was solely on the final six matches of this campaign.